At the time of the blizzard, operational full-physics numerical models had only been around a bit more than a decade and were just making their mark on weather forecasting. The 7-layer PE model, which was being run to 36 hours, had just been replaced one month earlier with the 7-layer PE (fine mesh) with runs to 84 hours and a barotropic extension to 144 hours. The Limited Fine Mesh model was also being run to 48 hours. Even with what would now be considered truly primitive forecast models, the forecasters had been talking of the threat of a big storm for nearly a week.
A lot has happened in operational weather forecasting in the past 25 years. This presentation will contrast our current capabilities with the forecast process that resulted in the early watches and ultimate warnings for one of the greatest storms ever to strike New England. Comparisons of various tools, including satellite data, observations, and modeling will illustrate just how far we have come in the past 25 years. Efforts will also be made to contrast the warning and community emergency response capabilities and realities